The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."

Volume 10, 1899, pg. 811-813

The Lewis Carroll Picture Book, by S. D. Collingwood (Fisher Unwin, 6/-). We are grateful to Mr. Collingwood for another "Lewis Carroll" book. Nothing writ or said, thought or done, by the man who has given us the boon of "delicious laughter" is unwelcome to his lovers. Here we have The Rectory Umbrella, Notes by an Oxford Chiel, Alice on the Stage, Curiosa Mathematica, and much other Carrolliana. The illustrations, most of them Lewis Carroll's own, are captivating. "Which is best, a clock that is only right once a year, or a clock that is right twice every day?" leads to a delightful piece of ratiocination. Again, the Hints on Etiquette, how assisting! For example, "In proceeding to the dining room the gentleman gives one arm to the lady he escorts; it is unusual to offer both." We can only give the Postulates from the wittiest of the Oxford Notes, "The Dynamics of a Parti (cle)"--

"(1) Let it be granted, that a speaker may digress from any one point to any other point.

"(2) That a finite argument (i.e., one finished and disposed of) may be produced to any extent in subsequent debates.

"(3) That a controversy may be raised about any question and at any distance from that question."

A good many of the witticisms, especially the mathematical jokes, are of a flavour to attract a college Common Room, but the volume is full of fun and frolic, wit and wisdom, for all ages and sizes, all sorts and conditions. We would earnestly commend to our readers Lewis Carroll's remarks upon the stage. The man and woman who go to the play now and then are apt to be, on the whole, more genial and kindly than those who never go; and perhaps middle-class English people do not give enough definite thought and time to amusement. But the difficulty is that, while many plays are all we could wish for in the matters of good taste, reverence, and chastity, others offend in all these respects; and the play-goer, who takes his play as it happens to come, can hardly do so without some deterioration. This is a question in which we think P.N.E.U. parents might exercise some influence. We cannot afford to give up the Stage, whether as a means of recreation, instruction, or moral suasion; but neither can we afford to trust the delicacy of our moral sensibility to the hands of such play-wrights and managers as make it their business to fling every now and then a bone to the dog of the lower passions of the "House." Efforts in this direction would be a worthy memento of a man who has made our children laugh because he loved them; and made us elders laugh with perhaps more exquisite pleasure, though he did not do us the honour to bear us much in mind. Even if it did not bear a name to conjure with, the Lewis Carroll Picture Book would be the book of delights for old and
young for the season.

Really and Truly! or the Century for Babes, by Mrs. Ernest Amnes (Arnold, 3/6.) This is a book of clever and amusing pictorial jokes, highly coloured in every sense, illustrating the chief events of the century. It should be a capital adjunct to a Christmas party, but not, we think, for the "little reader," for whom it appears to be designed. One would not like a child's first ideas of the "Great Duke" to be derived from a very amusing caricature which represents him as seated between Spanish donnas with big fans, enjoying a bullfight. To us elders the incongruity may be amusing. The first gas lamp and the first penny post are delightful pictures. The cleverest and most amusing of all is the picture for 1898. It shows "Jonathan wedded at last--to John Bull," the smirking Jonathan in stars and stripes and bridal veil, clinging to her sturdy bridegroom. We congratulate Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Amnes on their clever and witty production.

A Winter in Berlin, by Marie von Bunsen, translated by A. F. D. (Edward Arnold, 5/-). A Winter in Berlin is a very interesting study of the society of the hour in Berlin, from the hand of one who writes of what she understands. The incidents of the winter in question, which befel the Countess Zachow and her family, appear to be told with the intention of emphasizing certain social tendencies. The Countess Zachow herself is a delicate study of a refined, intellectual woman, who thinks she understands and is living in the "advanced" thought of the day, but is dismayed and amazed at the developments presented by her own daughters. It is worth while to read the book, for there are English mothers who go through the same experience: but it is as well they should not, as the German lady does, explain everything by the convenient doctrine of heredity. Education is not without weight.

The Nightingale, by R. André (Allen, 2/6). It is pleasant to meet with an old friend so charmingly "dished up." The Emperor Foochoo, seated in state among much willow pattern, the fat Mandarin Ning-Po's adventures in search of the nightingale, his triumphant return, the grand court concert, with the nightingale as sole performer, the jewelled rival, and the Emperor's dismay when the spring runs down, are all pictured with much humour.

The Treasure Seekers, by E. Nesbit (F. Unwin, 6/-). The "Bastable" children are very engaging. In the first place they are children, not literary puppets. They are clever and original in children, but they think as children think. The "House of Bastable," which is in fact a suburban villa, has fallen upon evil days. The children have no mother, and their father can't make ends meet. So they take the matter into their own hands and go in search of a fortune. But they have a fine instinct for fair play. Each of the five has a separate plan, for they had read many books, and all agree to try each plan in turn. Here comes the questionable part of the story. To dig for treasure and find half-crowns dropped by kindly neighbours, to beard a money-lender successfully, and get "fortune" out of him, and in fact generally to succeed in getting money out of their elders is a bad precedent. But the story is well written and enjoyable, and nice children will say, "Poor things, they had no mother, so did not know better." Then the Bastable children shew many pleasant, generous traits that should fire other children.

Bernardino Luini, by G. C. Williamson, Litt. D (The Great Masters in Painting and Sculpture, George Bell & Sons, 5/-). A book full of charming illustrations of the frescoes and paintings of one of the later Italian masters. Here is to be found gathered together all that is at present known of Luini. Of his life there are almost no details. Vasari, the usual authority in such matters, is singularly silent about this prolific painter. Tradition only says that he was born at Linino, on the shores of Lake Maggiore, between 1465-75, and that he died at Lugano in 1533. Lanzi is more appreciative than Vasari of Luini's paintings, but he has nothing to add that is biographical. His judgment, or error as this article calls it, that Luini was "the most distinguished imitator of Leonardo, has been accepted up to our time. From the days of Lanzi to Ruskin, Luini was practically forgotten, his best frescoes were in seldom-visited churches, his pictures in all the galleries of Europe were attributed to Leonardo. It was but for a later period and for the genius of Ruskin and the critical investigations of Kugler, Crowe and Cavalcaselle, and of Morelli to brush away the dust and error of past times and allow Luini once more to have the credit of his own works." It is not everyone who can agree with Ruskin that "Luini is ten times greater than Leonardo," or with the writer of this interesting book, that Luini is subjective and Leonardo objective. The two men were certainly contrasts, "Leonardo a man of power, Luini of sympathy." Leonardo doing few works, Luini many. By the forty-page long record of these works, at the end of the volume, the author is "content to be judged."

Mother Duck's Children, coloured drawings by Gugu (Heinemann, 5/-). Here is a baby picture-book, full of ravishing babies doing every quaint and pretty thing that babies can do.

Typed by Erika, Feb. 2009; Proofread by LNL, Feb. 2024